Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pre-Harvest Report from the Round Pond Winemaker

This is a letter we received from our winemaker this morning to help us all to understand "where we are" with harvest:

Dear Team Round Pond,

On what is the last week before we get this party started, I think it’s appropriate to give a recap on where we are and how we got here.

This year’s catch phrase: "Cooler than normal temperatures"

In the spring, if we experience cool weather, the vines will remain dormant and bud break will be delayed. This is in itself is challenging, because like a thoroughbred getting out of the gates a furlong or two behind, it can be difficult to make up lost ground. Thus the 2011 vintage began...

Cooler temperature will also draw rain clouds in from the ocean. If, at this time, the vines are in cap drop, the effect from both the cool weather and the rain will interfere with the ability of the vine to pollinate. This is commonly referred to as shatter. On the Estate we experienced shatter in interesting patterns. Old vines were affected more than young. Some varieties were affected more than others. Some clones were affected more than others. Soil variability had little effect and rootstock was seen as being neutral. This was obviously a scion reaction to an atmospheric condition.

The cooler than normal weather persisted the entire growing season, which did not help us catch up in the ripening department. An interesting phenomenon of note is that we have not experienced a single heat spike the entire growing season. An occurrence that is unprecedented according to the old timers. Marching into September, we are tracking about three weeks behind schedule and it appears that my prediction of a record-breaking heat index for this month will not come to pass…

Now that everyone is sufficiently depressed I’d like to state that not all is doom and gloom. Not even close.

As cool and late as this vintage may be, this is the third year in a row Mother Nature has dealt us this same hand. The winegrowing team learned much in 2009 and gained on that knowledge in 2010. We have reacted quickly and sufficiently to guarantee the growth of the most exceptional crop this Estate can produce. I look forward to what this vintage still holds in store and will update you at the major milestones. You won’t have to wait long… Sauvignon Blanc is coming in next week.

Humbly Yours,

Brian Brown
Round Pond Estate

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